On August 31 and September 1, 2021, SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) teamed up with EAMS ROBOTICS Co., Ltd. and Uhuru Corporation to conduct a trial for delivering fish caught right out of the ocean with an autonomous drone and SoftBank's high-precision positioning service "ichimill."
The trial took place in Susami Town, a small, coastal community located in the southwestern part of Wakayama Prefecture. The town, which counts fishing and tourism as its major industries, is grappling with a labor shortage due to a greying population and is also looking for ways to attract tourists. To address these issues, Susami Town began considering various IT-based solutions. SoftBank proposed the idea of using drones on a trial basis.
The demonstration used a drone with autonomous navigation capabilities to transport Susami Town's signature specialty—fresh skipjack tuna, known as katsuo in Japan—from its fishing port to a roadside station located 3km away. Katsuo cuisine is often enjoyed raw, and since its flesh degrades quickly, freshness is critical.
Carrying the fish in styrofoam containers, the EAMS ROBOTICS-manufactured drone was used in conjunction with SoftBank's high-precision positioning service “ichimill” for landing. The drone successfully found its way along a pre-set route and landed itself with centimeter-level accuracy.
Mobile order system brings fish straight to restaurant
With a view to commercial usage in the future, the trial also used a mobile order system developed by Uhuru that supports PayPay cashless payments.
Using this system, customers can order food on the menu from a restaurant at Susami’s roadside station with their smartphones. Order details are sent to people at the fishing port and restaurant staff. This system enables port staff to deliver freshly caught fish with the drone for each order. Once the drone lands at the roadside station, restaurant staff prepare and serve up katsuo dishes.
Based on the successful demonstration results, Susami Town will consider implementing the solution to enable more efficient deliveries and to promote regional tourism. SoftBank will continue to work to develop regional industries and address social issues with its “ichimill” and drone services.
(Posted on September 6, 2021)
by SoftBank News Editors